By Jake Rill
BALTIMORE – The losing streak was about to be in the rearview mirror. The White Sox had taken control of the game in the 10th inning and the Baltimore Orioles had struggled all game to drive in baserunners.
Conor Gillaspie hit a pinch-hit solo homer in the top of the 10th to put the Sox on top and Addison Reed was coming in to close it out and end the eight-game skid.
But it wasn’t that easy.
Reed gave up a walk-off two-run single to Matt Wieters, as the Sox fell 4-3 before 23,653 at Camden Yards, dropping their ninth straight and falling to 0-9 on the current AL East road trip.
“Anytime I go out there I want to get three outs and get the win for the team. Things didn’t work out the way that we wanted them to,” Reed said. “I made a terrible pitch to Wieters right there on that last pitch and he made me pay for it.”
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The White Sox closer gave up a pinch-hit single to Henry Urrutia with one out. Then, pinch runner Chris Dickerson moved to third on a Nick Markakis single.
Reed (5-3) struck out Nate McLouth, but Markakis stole second on the third strike. That set the stage for Wieters to deliver with a deep hit to right that plated the tying and winning runs.
“Matt just came up with a big hit and sometimes that’s what happens,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Anytime you lose late, it always hurts.”
It was Reed’s sixth blown save of the year.
Gillaspie had the White Sox (56-85) in great position, as he blasted a 3-2 pitch off Baltimore reliever Tommy Hunter (4-3) inside the right-field foul pole. But the Orioles (76-65) bounced right back and worsened the Sox to 9-14 in extra-inning games.
“We battled back, Conor with the big homer,” Ventura said. “You just bounce back, keep going.”
The White Sox had given Baltimore many opportunities to take the lead throughout the game, but the Orioles couldn’t capitalize until the end, going 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position, prior to Wieters’ hit. The Sox had three errors, including a pair in the eighth, but they ended up not hurting them.
The Sox scored their first run in 18 innings in the top of the fourth. After Alexei Ramirez doubled with one out, Paul Konerko followed with an RBI single that tied the game 1-1.
In the next inning, Dayan Viciedo led off with a solo homer to center, his 12th of the season, to put the White Sox up 2-1.
White Sox starter Hector Santiago pitched just five innings, but he limited Baltimore to two runs on seven hits. He gave up a first-inning RBI double to Chris Davis and a solo homer to Brian Roberts in the fifth.
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen held the Sox to two runs on six hits over six innings, while striking out eight.
Prior to Reed, the Sox bullpen did a good job of shutting down Baltimore, despite consistently allowing it to get baserunners.
Jake Petricka, Matt Lindstrom, David Purcey, and Nate Jones combined for four innings of scoreless relief, although they allowed the Orioles to get a runner to at least second in all but one of them.
“There was a lot of Houdini stuff going on in there,” Ventura said. “They’d get in trouble and work their way out of it. With the way it was going today, you almost figured Reed was going to do the same thing, but it just didn’t happen.”
And because of that, the White Sox will be trying to avoid a winless road trip on Sunday.
“Things just aren’t going our way and today it was a bad pitch by me,” Reed said. “It happens, it’s baseball. Things can happen like that and all we can do is come back tomorrow and do everything we can to get the win."